By the time of the opening tip-off, it was standing room only at Kelowna Secondary School as the Owls hosted the Burnaby South Rebels in the much-anticipated final of the 47th annual Western Canada Basketball Tournament last Saturday night.
The home crowd was loud and the energy was buzzing to start the game, but the Owls were quickly swarmed by the Rebels, which were ranked the number one team in B.C. going into the game.
The Rebels team started strong, playing with pressure and precision to take the tournament’s finals en route to a 82-58 victory.
“We fought until the end,” said Owls’ head coach Harry Parmar on the second place tournament finish.
“We couldn’t execute and turned the ball over too much. At the same time, that’s a really good team, you got to give them some credit for what we couldn’t do.”
In the 47th year of the tournament, the Owls were flying high in the first two games of the weekend, notching over 100 points in each of their two wins.
KSS used consistent outside shooting in the early victories, but come Saturday night’s game against the Rebels, the Owls shots were just not finding a way in.
Kelowna shot under 30 per cent from three-point range in the final and anytime they’d find momentum, the Rebels would storm back and use their own sharpshooters and size to stifle any comeback.
The Owls’ Jaydon Lalonde (13 points) and Malcom Greggor (11 points) led the way for Kelowna, but the Rebels’ size and zone defence were a tough match-up for the Owls.
“Today was their night,” said Parmar.
“If we had hit some shots, it could have been different, but kudos to them. But the season’s not done, it’s a journey right.”
The Owls will conclude league play in the coming weeks then head into the Okanagan Valley championships ahead of the provincial finals tournament hosted in Langley in March.
The KSS Owls clawed their way to a second place finish at last year’s provincials and could find themselves up against the Rebels in the provincial tournament.
Parmar said that despite the loss Western Canada tournament final loss, his team will feed off their overall strong tournament heading into the final weeks of the season.
“We’re at a good point. With practices next week we got to up the energy, fix our execution and be hopefully be ready to go for the Valleys.”
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